Sunday, April 20, 2014

Roast Leg of Lamb

During my childhood the traditional main course for Easter was either ham or lamb. As this site has already dished up the ham we will now do the lamb.

Leg of lamb is a whole leg. Saddle of lamb is the two loins with the hip. Leg and saddle are usually roasted, though the leg is sometimes boiled. Lamb shank is a cut of meat from the upper part of the leg.

Forequarter meat of sheep, as of other mammals, includes more connective tissue than some other cuts, and, if not from a young lamb, is best cooked slowly using either a moist method, such as braising or stewing, or by slow roasting or American barbecuing. It is, in some countries, sold already chopped or diced.

The fell is the thin, paper-like covering on the outer fat. It should not be removed from roasts and legs because it helps these cuts retain their shape and juiciness during cooking. The fell has usually been removed at the market from smaller cuts, such as chops.

Lamb, hogget, and mutton (UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) are terms for the meat of domestic sheep (species Ovis aries) at different ages. A sheep in its first year is called a lamb; and its meat is also called lamb.

The meat of a juvenile sheep older than one year is hogget; outside North America this was also a term for the living animal, but this meaning is now largely obsolete. The meat of an adult sheep is mutton, a term only used for the meat, not the living animals.

Lamb is the most expensive of the three types, and in recent decades sheep-meat is increasingly only retailed as "lamb", sometimes stretching the accepted distinctions given above. The stronger tasting mutton is now hard to find in many areas, despite the efforts of the Mutton Renaissance Campaign in the UK. In Australia, the leg of lamb roast is considered the national dish. Commonly served on a Sunday or any other special occasion.

The term prime lamb is often used to refer to lambs raised for meat. Other languages, for example French and Italian, make similar, or even more detailed, distinctions between sheep meat by age and sometimes by gender, though they generally lack the particular habit of English in having different terms for the living animal and its meat.

From Wikibooks Cookbook
Roast Lamb

Leg of lamb (bone on or off), approximately 3.3 lbs
[feeds 4 people]
6 x whole fresh garlic cloves, peeled
3 sprigs fresh rosemary

3 Tablespoons butter or 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Vegetables [wikiHOW suggests: 6 potatos, 4 large carrots, 1 1/2 cups peas] Of course
whichever vegetables are preferred by yourself/your guests may be substituted

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Put butter or oil in baking dish. Place the dish in the oven to heat up. Prepare the leg of lamb. Using a sharp knife, plunge into the meat, making three incisions in top side (approx. 1.1 inches deep) and three similar incisions on bottom side. Into each incision, insert one peeled clove of garlic and a sprig of rosemary. Rub a thick layer of salt [Recipes Damage In The Kitchen editor's note: coarse salt is suggested] all over the surface of the piece of lamb.

This assists with cooking a 'crunchy' skin. Wearing oven mitts, remove the baking dish from oven and place the prepared lamb into the middle of it. Put the dish back in oven and set the timer for 30 minutes (25 minutes for a fan forced oven). The cooking time for lamb is generally 30 minutes per 1.10 pounds. Peel and chop the vegetables. Note that the vegetables will take 1 hour to roast. After 30 minutes, remove the lamb in the baking dish from the oven. Spoon the oil in the base of the dish all over the lamb leg. Place the prepared vegetables around the lamb leg and return the dish to the oven.

Set the timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, again remove the baking dish from the oven. Spoon the dish oil over both the lamb leg and all of the vegetables. Again, return to the oven. Set the timer another for 30 minutes. Prepare the other necessities for serving the lamb. The following sub-steps will use up the last 15 minutes of roast cooking time: Fifteen minutes after this latest return of the lamb to the oven, put the peas in a saucepan of water on the stove. Heat to boil. Remove the lamb and vegetables dish from oven. Remember to turn off the oven. Place the lamb on a plate. Cover with foil for 5-7 minutes to 'rest'. This means that it will drain off excess fluids. Use this time to drain and serve peas, serve out vegetables. Serve. When the lamb has 'rested', slice the lamb and serve with the roasted vegetables.

Text Credits: Wikipedia WikiHow wikibooks cookbook
Image Credit: wikimediacommons

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

National Grilled Cheese Day is April 12th

Cooked bread and cheese is an ancient food, according to food historians, popular across the world in many cultures; evidence indicates that in the U.S., the modern version of the grilled cheese sandwich originated in the 1920s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became easily available.[citation needed] The cheese dream became popular during the Great Depression.

It was originally made as an open sandwich, but the top slice of bread became common by the 1960s. U.S. government cookbooks describe Navy cooks broiling "American cheese filling sandwiches" during World War II. Many versions of the grilled cheese sandwich can now be found on restaurant menus across the United States.

Uncooked cheese sandwiches simply require assembly of the cheese slices on the bread, along with any additions and condiments.

A grilled cheese sandwich is assembled and then heated until the bread crisps and the cheese melts, sometimes combined with an additional ingredient such as peppers, tomatoes or onions. Several different methods of heating the sandwich are used, depending on the region and personal preference. Common methods include being cooked on a griddle, grilled, fried in a pan or made in a panini grill or sandwich toaster (this method is more common in the United Kingdom where the sandwiches are normally called "toasted sandwiches" or "toasties").

When making grilled cheese on an open griddle or pan, one side is cooked first, then the sandwich is flipped and cooked on the other side. The sandwich is finished when both sides are toasted and the cheese has melted. Butter, oil, or mayonnaise may first be spread on either the bread or the cooking surface in the case of butter and oil. An alternative technique is to toast or grill each half of the sandwich separately, then combine them. Another method sometimes referred as an "inside out" grilled cheese has an extra layer of cheese put on the outside of each side and cooked, causing the cheese to caramelize into a crispy outer layer.

When using butter best results are achieved at a medium heat. This prevents the milk solids in butter from burning and allows sufficient time for heat to thoroughly penetrate the sandwich and melt the cheese without burning the bread. A crispy golden-brown crust with a melted cheese center is a commonly preferred level of preparedness. Cooking times can vary depending on pan dimensions, ability to control the intensity of the heat source, bread type, cheese variety and overall thickness of pre-cooked sandwich.

Text Credit: Wikipedia || Image Credit wikicommons

Friday, March 28, 2014

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake Day is celebrated annually on March 28th

Black Forest Cake, sometimes called by the French gateau, gateaux or gâteau (meaning "cake"), is a chocolate cake with a strong cherry element, popular throughout North America. The recipe originates from Germany, where it is called Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte.

Black Forest gâteau (British English) and Black Forest cake (American English and Australian English) are the English names for the German dessert Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (pronounced [ˈʃvaʁt͡svɛldɐ ˈkɪʁʃˌtɔʁtə]), literally "Black Forest cherry-torte". Black Forest cake originated in Germany.

Typically, Black Forest cake consists of several layers of chocolate cake, with whipped cream and cherries between each layer. Then the cake is decorated with additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings. In some European traditions sour cherries are used both between the layers and for decorating the top. Traditionally, Kirschwasser (a clear liquor distilled from tart cherries) is added to the cake, although other liquors are also used (such as rum, which is common in Austrian recipes).

In the United States, Black Forest cake is most often prepared without alcohol. German statutory interpretation states Kirschwasser as a mandatory ingredient, otherwise the cake is legally not allowed to be marketed as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. True Black Forest cakes are decorated with black cherries.

The cake is named not directly after the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) mountain range in southwestern Germany but rather from the specialty liquor of that region, known as Schwarzwälder Kirsch(wasser) and distilled from tart cherries. This is the ingredient, with its distinctive cherry pit flavor and alcoholic content, that gives the cake its flavor. Cherries, cream, and Kirschwasser were first combined in the form of a dessert in which cooked cherries were served with cream and Kirschwasser, while a cake combining cherries, cookies / biscuits and cream (but without Kirschwasser) probably originated in Germany.

Today, the Swiss canton of Zug is world-renowned for its Zuger Kirschtorte, a cookie / biscuit-based cake which formerly contained no Kirschwasser. A version from the canton of Basel also exists. The confectioner Josef Keller (de) (1887–1981) claimed to have invented Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in its present form in 1915 at the then prominent Café Agner in Bad Godesberg, now a suburb of Bonn about 500 km north of the Black Forest. This claim, however, has never been substantiated.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte was first mentioned in writing in 1934. At the time it was particularly associated with Berlin but was also available from high-class confectioners in other German, Austrian, and Swiss cities. In 1949 it took 13th place in a list of best-known German cakes, and since that time Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte has become world-renowned.

From Wikibooks Cookbook
Black Forest Cake Recipe

For The Cake

4oz/100g Irish butter
[Margarine, vegetable oil
or regular butter may be
substituted for
Irish butter]
8oz /225g brown sugar
4oz /100g plain chocolate
7oz /200g self-raising
1/4 teaspoon
ground cinnamon
1/4 pint sour cream
3 tablespoons strong cold
black coffee
2 eggs
pinch of salt

For The Pastry Base

4oz/100g cream flour
pinch of salt
2oz /50g icing sugar
2 oz/50g Irish butter
1 egg yolk
a few drops of vanilla essence

For The Flavoring and Decoration

1 pint cream
1-lb tin black cherries
4 tablespoons black cherry jam
brandy or cherry juice
4oz/100g grated chocolate

To prepare the cake: Cream the butter and sugar together well. Melt the chocolate and beat into the creamed mixture, then mix in the eggs. Sift flour, salt and cinnamon together. Fold the dry mix lightly into the liquids, then fold in the sour cream and cold coffee. Pour the mixture into a lined and greased 9-inch round, deep tin,and bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Set to cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the pastry base: Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and bind until the mixture stiffens. Roll the pastry onto a floured board worktable until pastry is about the same size as the base of the tin. Lay out on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Assemblage: Whip cream until it holds its shape. Put some whipped cream into pastry piping bag with a star pipe attached, and reserve this for the decoration.

Slice the cake into 3 equal-sized layers. Drain the cherries, reserve 8 for decoration and remove the stones from the remainder. Put pastry on serving plate and spread the pastry with black cherry jam. Soak the cakes with spirit. Put one layer of cake on top of coated pastry. Spread a layer of cream with half the stoned cherries. Put the second layer of cake and add another layer of cream and cherries. Add the final layer of the cake. Cover the entire cake with the remaining cream and press on the grated chocolate. Decorate the top with piped rosettes of cream and the reserved whole black cherries.

This recipe did not come with a temperature to bake at for either the pastry or cake. Cakes usually work at between 325°F and 400°F (160°C and 205°C). Pastries usually work at between 350°F and 425°F (175°C and 220°C). 45-60 mins is usually a functional baking time.

Text Credits: Wikipedia Wikibooks Cookbook

Image Credit: petitplat at deviantart